Anders Behring Breivik, a perfect product of the Axis of Islamophobia

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store visits the Utoya Labor Youth camp a day before Breivik's killing spree. He earned loud cheers with an unapologetic call for Palestinian rights.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store visits the Utoya Labor Youth camp a day before Breivik's killing spree. He earned loud cheers with an unapologetic call for Palestinian rights.

When I wrote my analysis last December on the “Axis of Islamophobia,” laying out a new international political network of right-wing ultra-Zionists, Christian evangelicals, Tea Party activists and racist British soccer hooligans, I did not foresee a terrorist like Anders Behring Breivik emerging from the movement’s ranks. At the same time, I am not surprised that he did. The rhetoric of the characters who inspired Breivik, from Pam Geller to Robert Spencer to Daniel Pipes, was so eliminationist in its nature that it was perhaps only a matter of time before someone put words into action.

As horrific as Breivik’s actions were, he can not be dismissed as a “madman.” His writings contain the same themes and language as more prominent right-wing Islamophobes (or those who style themselves as “counter-Jihadists”) and many conservatives in general. What’s more, Breivik was articulate and coherent enough to offer a clear snapshot of his ideological motives. Ali Abunimah and Alex Kane have posted excellent summaries of Breivik’s writings here and here and a full English translation is here. It is also worth sitting through at least a portion of Breivik’s tedious video manifesto to get a sense of his thinking.

From a tactical perspective, Breivik was not a “lone wolf” terrorist. Instead, Breivik appeared to operate under a leaderless resistance model much like the Christian anti-abortion terrorists Scott Roeder and Eric Rudolph. Waagner and Rudolph organized around the Army of God, a nebulous group that was known only by its website and the pamphlets its members passed around in truck stops and private meetings. If they received material or tactical support, it occurred spontaneously. For the most part, they found encouragement from like-minded people and organizations like Operation Rescue, but rarely accepted direct assistance. Breivik, who emerged from the anti-immigrant Norwegian Progress Party (which built links with America’s Tea Party) and drifted into the English/Norwegian Defense League sphere of extremism, but who appeared to act without formal organizational support, reflects the same leaderless resistance style as America’s anti-abortion terrorists.

While in many ways Breivik shares core similarities with other right-wing anti-government terrorists, he is the product of a movement that is relatively new, increasingly dangerous, and poorly understood. I described the movement in detail in my “Axis of Islamophobia” piece, noting its simultaneous projection of anti-Semitic themes on Muslim immigrants and the appeal of Israel as a Fort Apache on the front lines of the war on terror, holding the line against the Eastern barbarian hordes. Breivik’s writings embody this seemingly novel fusion, particularly in his obsession with “Cultural Marxism,” an increasingly popular far-right concept that positions the (mostly Jewish) Frankfurt School as the originators of multiculturalism, combined with his call to “influence other cultural conservatives to come to our…pro-Israel line.”

Breivik and other members of Europe’s new extreme right are fixated on the fear of the “demographic Jihad,” or being out-populated by overly fertile Muslim immigrants. They see themselves as Crusader warriors fighting a racial/religious holy war to preserve Western Civilization. Thus they turn for inspiration to Israel, the only ethnocracy in the world, a country that substantially bases its policies towards the Palestinians on what its leaders call “demographic considerations.” This is why Israeli flags invariably fly above black-masked English Defense League mobs, and why Geert Wilders, the most prominent Islamophobic politician in the world, routinely travels to Israel to demand the forced transfer of Palestinians.

Judging from Breivik’s writings, his hysterical hatred of the Labor Party’s immigration policies and tolerance of Muslim immigrants likely led him target the government-operated summer camp at Utoya. For years, the far-right has singled Norway out as a special hotbed of pro-Islam, pro-Palestinian sentiment, thanks largely to its ruling Labor Party. In 2010, for instance, the English Defense League called Norway a future site of “Islamohell,” “where unadulterated political correctness has ruled the roost, with sharp talons, for decades.” Yesterday, when the Wall Street Journal editorial page rushed to blame Muslim terrorists for what turned out to be Breivik’s killing spree, it slammed the Norwegian government for pulling troops from Afghanistan and demanding that Israel end its siege of Gaza. For his part, Breivik branded the Labor Party as “traitors.”

There is no clear evidence that Breivik’s support for the Israeli right played any part in his killing spree. Nor does he appear to have any connection with the Israeli government. However, it is worth noting that in November 2010, the Israeli government joined the right-wing pile on, accusing the Norwegian government of “anti-Israel incitement” for funding a trip for students to New York to see the “Gaza Monologues” play. Then, the day before Breivik’s terror attack, which he planned long in advance, Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stor visited the Labor Youth camp at Utoya. There, he was met with demands to support the global BDS movement and to support the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral statehood bid. “The Palestinians must have their own state, the occupation must end, the wall must be demolished and it must happen now,” the Foreign Minister declared, earning cheers from the audience.

Breivik’s writings offer much more than a window into the motives that led him to commit terror. They can also be read as an embodiment of the mentality of a new and internationalized far-right movement that not only mobilizes hatred against Muslims, but is also able to produce figures who will kill innocent non-Muslims to save the Western way of life.

12 thoughts on “Anders Behring Breivik, a perfect product of the Axis of Islamophobia

  1. muzz al atesta

    “…the occupation must end, the wall must be demolished and it must happen now,” the Foreign Minister declared, earning cheers from the audience.”

    hear,hear & many thanks Max

    as someone who has connections to both the US & Europe i really appreciate you’re helping to further expose the common ideological, cultural and organizational ties of the reactionary right on both sides of the pond.

    shalom & plenty of sumud to ya

    Selma 1965 – Soweto 1976 – Gaza/Bil’in 2011

    a worldwide movement aiming to expand the realm of freedom, dignity & justice for us ALL

    http://www.bdsmovement.net/

  2. cpf

    FWIW: It’s not just the Unabomber. (Where’s the plagiarism software?)
    The cultural Marxism section is lifted from “Political Correctness:” A Short History of an Ideology, edited by William S. Lind, Free Congress Foundation, November, 2004

    http://www.restoringamerica.org/what_is_political_correctness.htm

    The New Conservatism

    Chapter 1 – “Political Correctness:” A Short History of an Ideology
    Chapter 2 – The Historical Roots of “Political Correctness”
    Chapter 3 – Political Correctness in Higher Education
    Chapter 4 – Political Correctness: Deconstruction and Literature
    Chapter 5 – Radical Feminism and Political Correctness
    Chapter 6 – Further Reading on the Frankfurt School

    ==

    Further details in this section (i.e. the discussion of Stanford) come from web sites such as: http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/print.php?&ArticleID=4104
    “Political Correctness Is Cultural Marxism By Brannon Howse”:

    T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr. wrote in a research paper entitled “Political Correctness in Higher Education” that:
    Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Politically Correct assault on the curriculum is that it has occurred at many of America’s elite universities. Take, for example, the case of Stanford University, an institution that has long played a leadership role in American higher education. Stanford eliminated its long-standing Western civilization requirement in 1988 and replaced it with a multicultural program known as “Cultures, Ideas, and Values.” Under this new program, freshman at Stanford can just as easily study Marxist revolutionaries in Central America as they can Plato, Shakespeare or Newton. Because elite institutions such as Stanford set an example for the rest of American higher education, other universities eagerly adopt these devastating assaults on the curriculum. This “trickle-down” effect will have a long-lasting impact on the way future generations of Americans will be educated. One distinguished scholar recently lamented that “higher education is increasingly about acquiring attitudes and opinions that one puts on like a uniform.”

    Compare with Breivik text:
    Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the politically correct assault on the curriculum is that it has occurred at many of our elite universities. Take, for example, the case of Stanford University, an institution that has long played a leadership role in American higher education. Stanford eliminated its long-standing Western civilisation requirement in 1988 and replaced it with a multicultural program known as “Cultures, Ideas, and Values.” Under this new program freshmen at Stanford can just as easily study Marxist revolutionaries in Central America as they can Plato, Shakespeare, or Newton.Stanford has also led the movement away from serious study of history. Students at Stanford, like students at all but one of the other top 50 universities in the United States, are not required to take a single course in history. Instead, they are offered a choice of courses under the heading of “American Cultures.” According to one recent graduate at Stanford, it is impossible to fulfill the “American Cultures” requirement by studying Protestantism, Irish Americans, or the American West, while courses that do fulfill the requirement include “Film and Literature: US-Mexico Border Representations” and “Contemporary Ethnic Drama.” Stanford students must also take courses in “World Cultures” and “Gender Studies” that include “Chicana Expressive Culture” and “Misogyny and Feminism in the Renaissance.” Because elite institutions such as Stanford set an example for the rest of American and European higher education, other universities eagerly adopt these devastating assaults on the curriculum. This “trickle-down” effect will have a long-lasting impact on the way future generations of Western Europeans and Americans will be educated.

  3. cpf

    Correction: The “Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism” article by Brannon Howse, who quotes T. Kenneth Cribb about Stanford, is referring to Cribb’s article in the Free Congress Foundation anthology (ed. Lind).

  4. QLineOrientalist

    Good article.
    I would quibble with your characterization of Israel as the world’s only ethnocracy. All nation-states are ethnocracies. Go to any of the countries of the Caucasus or the Balkans and see real national paranoia in action. You haven’t been around unless you’ve spoken to a Serb about Albania’s “African rate of population grown.”

  5. chayma100

    There is no clear evidence that Breivik’s support for the Israeli right played any part in his killing spree. Nor does he appear to have any connection with the Israeli government.

    These far right groups try to draw anyone sypmathetic to their cause for support and funds, even if for a temporary alliance.

    Although Israel is not to blame, far right Zionists (not necessarily in Israel, and the chief funders) are definately to blame for creating a climate of hate and incitement against Muslims and Islam.

    All of this propoganda which inspired Brievik is coming from one source, and the funders expect their whores to parrot

    “ISRAEL IS ON THE FRONT LINE OF DEFENSE”

    which is probably why Brievik expressed admiration for Lieberman, he also said.

    “Let’s end stupid support for Palestinians…start supporting our cultural cousin, Israel.”

    and

    Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists….So, are the current Jews in Europe and US disloyal? The multiculturalist (nation-wrecking) Jews ARE, while the conservative Jews ARE NOT. Aprox. 75% of European/US Jews support multiculturalism while aprox. 50% of Israeli Jews does the same.

    it’s clear his support for Israel is only because he thinks it will benefit his agenda and to hell with those Israeli’s who do not support his views.

    All of the people lauded by Briekik (Bat Yeor, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Andrew Bostom, Fjordmann, Geert Wilders) by Brievik belong to the same club, are funded by the same people and have an identical agenda, Geert Wilders is funded by Daniel Pipes organisation.

    Even Jihad Watch is funded by the Horowitiz Foundation, (frontpagemag.com) which in turn gets most of it’s funds from Aubrey Chernick as well as other far right Zionists.

    Western civilisation does not support the far right Zionist agenda. The problems in Europe are due to multiculturalism failing, and not Islam, and the problems are not unique to the Muslim communities, others have them too.

    Much of what Breivik says in online comments comes straight out of Spencer’s thinking on these issues: e.g. that the leftists/multiculturalists are the greatest threat to Western civilisation, because they are facilitating the “Islamisation” of Europe:

    It’s apparent, the Crusaders against Jihad such as Spencer have created a climate of anti-Muslim/anti-liberal hatred, which is why the liberal Norwegians were targeted by Brievik. He calls them “marxists” and condemns their alliance with Islam as he sees it. This is exactly the nonsense that Geller propogates.

    All Islamophobic hate mongers propogate the Islamist/liberal alliance as something evil. It doesn’t cross their own sick evil minds that it may be decent people with a moral cause, fighting their evil ideology.

    In his comments Breivik cites the two hate sites, Spencer’s “Jihad Watch”, and Pamela Geller’s “Atlas Shrugs”, as sites that all Europeans should read.

    Brievik is also a fan of Fjordmann, (Gates of Vienna). Fjordmann’s book recommendations include:

    From Page 754 of 2083 -European Deceleration of Independence:
    I could also recommend some books that people should read. About Islam I recommend essentially everything written by Robert Spencer. Bat Ye’or’s books are groundbreaking and important, though admittedly not always easy to read. The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew Bostom should be considered required reading for all those interested in Islam. It is the best and most complete book available on the subject in English, and possibly in any language.

    His manifesto contains threats of violence his thoughts are mirror images of the type of comments you find at Atlas Shrugs and Jihad Watch.

    The question is, if Jihadi sites that promote Al Qaeda get shut down by the FBI why are these hate sites allowed to spew their incitement?

    If you consider that the Bush regime banned Al Jazeera for being pro Jihad (a nonsensical claim, as Al Jazeera has it’s biggest online audience in the USA) why is Jihad Watch which appears to be Brievik’s favourite site, (he quotes Spencer over 30 times in the few pages i’ve managed to read of his manifesto) allowed to incite Crusades?

  6. Ajax151

    People like Gellar and Spencer need to own up to their part in building the rhetoric to this tragedy.

  7. suzannedk

    Joseph Mc Carthy was an example of America fascism in power and able to act out his criminal obsessions. Fascism is not longer illegal. Dissent has be criminalised as have peaceful demonstrations, the checks and balances of actions like the massacres in Norway,, or in Palestine.

    There they have become so normal, Palestinians multiple times evicted from their homes in order for Settlers to steal their land, return to re-build and re-occupy their ancestral plots, sleeping in tents until the rebuilding is finished for the sixth time, have their tents set on fire with gasoline at 3, 4 am in the dark morning when deep sleep comes. Pregnant Palestinian women are shot in the uterus, infants in their skulls as they toddle beside parents or siblings. How is Mr Breivik any different?

    Dick Cheney, ex-Vice President of the United States, voted 12 times to keep Nelson Mandela in prison, is another example of what fascism in power looks like: Anders Breivik. Hilary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State has promoted all the illegal wars of choice and occupation that the United States decides, with no input from Congress, to use to terroristically club and bomb third world countries into abject submission. As well as tortures, renditions.

    Daniel Pipes is one, as is Attorney and professor of Law at Harvard, Alan Dershowtiz, approving of the Israeli Settler’s genocidal moves. Netanyahu is another. AnneCoulter too, Wilders of the Netherlands the most visible fascist in Europe due to his constant exposure to Israeli and American Zionist power and wealth.

    Larry Summers, once the President of Harvard, used his post there to denigrate all female study and integrity capabilities because of gender, and was fired for it, only to become a key advisor to our articulate ambitious, right-wing Democratic President of the U.S..Who approves of Israel and will do anything to support it. All examples of highly and publicly lauded fascism in action. Glorifies it.

    Fascism is more the a vogue or in style, it is intended to become the new shape of world government. There will be many many more violent acting out of these well articulated and now legally approved actions as just happened in Norway.

    When the International Human Rights Laws are replaced, as they are being, with whim-like war laws, the violence in Norway will spread across the whole world, but especially in Europe. The E.U. and it’s laws and rights, were to replace the one thousand years of war Europe has fought among itself, with a lasting and prosperous peace. America felt deeply threatened…and set up a plan, at the end of WW11.

    When the Union was put together and then successfully formed, the threat felt much bigger, the competition too much to a faltering super power, the world’s biggest. The ideology that is being spread by force by the U.S. will only result in more massacres, more horrors like it. As was true in post WW1 and a Europe reeling from our worst war and the causing fiscal depression increased with punitive sanctions from The United States leading peace. So hard that there began WW11. WW111 is being fought, it is just rather invisible. But for the ones who uphold the right to live by hate speech. Acting it out finally. Suzanne

    NATO would not be allowed to die but would be the means to colonise the world into militaristic serfdoms. What Anders did was a point of pride to many more than most could understand, or allow themselves to accept,even with proofs. Suzanne

  8. suzannedk

    The number of luminaries who are fascist are uncountable. The names are in the highest circles of power and of wealth. The fascist massacres that Anders just performed are performed every day in the thousands by NATO and American mercenary troops and intelligence operatives…approved by all those luminaries.

    The oil and nuclear corporations create fascist regimes to control the populations of the areas they are stealing oil from…or, building dams in…nuclear reactors, etc. Creating millions of the impoverished and imprisoned mutating humans. Anders is an example rather than an aberration. Suzanne

  9. poyani

    What I find most ironic is that for years Anders Breivik’s ideological allies on the right has been feeding us the dubious argument that Islamist terrorists attack he west “because of who we are and not what we do”. That they attack us because of western freedom! That as we all know (and as admitted even by the Bush Admin in their investigation of 9/11) is bullshit.

    But Anders Breivik obviously attacked Norway because of who they were. Because he disapproved of the freedoms their society enjoyed.

    Funny how silent these right-wingers are now!

  10. poyani

    What I find most ironic is that for years Anders Breivik’s ideological allies on the right has been feeding us
    the dubious argument that Islamist terrorists attack he west “because of who we are and not what we do”. That they attack us because of western freedom! That as we all know (and as admitted even by the Bush Admin in their investigation of 9/11) is non-sense.

    But Anders Breivik obviously attacked Norway because of who they were. Because he disapproved of the freedoms their society enjoyed.

    Funny how silent these right-wingers are now!

  11. Mike Mc

    Just read your Alternet article on the US hatemongers who inspired Breivik. It was excellent, but Pantano lost the 2010 Congressional election in North Carolina’s 7th. I may have missed a special election that occurred in the meantime, though
    I would have posted the comment to Alternet, but the system wouldn’t accept it.

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